Let’s Talk About Courage

Can you think of something courageous you did when you were a kid? I remember standing on a diving board at my neighbor’s pool and trying to stir up the courage to take that jump. My sisters were in the pool telling me to do it. My toes were curled over the board and as I stared at the water, I took the leap and survived.

During a camping trip in my early 20s I had a similar experience. We were at Pfieffer State Park in Big Sur, California. We hiked to get to a place called the Gorge. There I was on top of an enormous rock with my toes curled at the edge and my sister Stacy telling me to go for it. I remember her saying, “Just do it dude. You’ll be ok.” I jumped and hit the water 10 feet below. I came up choking from the water I took in and gasping because the water was also frigid. But I did it and survived.

We all have stories about a time when we were scared of something and did it anyway. My two stories happened to be about jumping into water. Although they’re both stories about a physical challenge, it’s the inner strength that helped me take the leap each time.

Brene Brown’s definition of courage tells how it’s evolved to acting in a heroic way or accomplishing brave deeds. I think the root of where courage comes from helps us better understand how we define courage as being heroic.

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences — good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as “ordinary courage.” – Brene Brown

Some of the biggest challenges I have overcome in my life took a deep level of inner strength and commitment to conquer. As we see in social media, people often show the outcome versus what really occurred behind the scenes. It always looks so easy once the goal is accomplished and the announcement with a smiling face is posted on Facebook or Instagram. What happens long before that is where your courage comes into play.

Whether you’re thinking about a career move, personal goal or ending a relationship, you build the courage momentum as you take each step in accomplishing your goal. I recently accepted a new position and left the company I had been with for the last 8 years. It took me over 3 years to find the courage to leave, which included the pandemic that put a halt to my search for a while. Each day I practiced things, that looking back now, I can see as the courageous steps I needed to take to find a new career opportunity. It wasn’t easy, but it was courageous to leave.

If you’re considering a big move in the New Year, Entreprenuer has strategies that can help you grow, be courageous and achieve that goal. They have an excellent article about thinking and acting courageously. From that article, below are some ways you can get started.

C = Compassion for yourself and others, even when you’re exhausted

O = Overcoming fear and self-doubt

U = Understanding and tapping into your strengths

R = Recognizing all you have accomplished

A = Adapting and being flexible

G = Growing and learning

E = Endurance to keep going

Small acts every day build your courage, strength and self esteem. You are probably doing many of those small acts each day already and might not realize it. Wonder how that can be? Here’s an article from Shine that lists 21 Ways You Flex Your Bravery Every Single Day.

It’s a New Year! So many positive things are on the horizon. We don’t need to set big resolutions and unattainable goals as we move into 2022. We just need a little bit of courage to try each day. Do something courageous today and celebrate it. I bet you’ll want to try it again tomorrow.

How are you being courageous? Would love to know.

Image from Pixabay

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